Reuters International

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Attackers armed with guns and grenades burst into a bar and opened fire, killing a woman and seriously wounding three other customers in Burundi's capital Bujumbura on Monday night, police said.

Officers said they were still investigating the motive for the attack in Ngagara neighbourhood, near a base housing police officers in charge of protecting government offices.

Retaliatory attacks between President Pierre Nkurunziza's security forces and his opponents have escalated since April 2015 when he announced a disputed bid for a third term and then won re-election in July.

Nkurunziza's opponents said his decision violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended the central African country's 1993-2005 civil war. The government cited a subsequent court ruling that said he could run again.

“Three people in civilian clothes and armed with guns and grenades burst into a bar opened fire on a group of people who were having beer there. One lady died instantly three others were serious injured," Deputy Police Spokesman Moise Nkurunziza told Reuters.

“If it was just robbery, they would have taken money and not killed innocent people," he added. "Let’s wait the outcome of investigations."

U.N. officials have said the crisis risks pushing Burundi back to the kind of ethnically charged conflict that characterised the war, in which 300,000 people died.

About 250,000 people have fled since violence erupted, most to border camps in neighbouring Tanzania and more than 400 people have been killed in the ensuing violence, according to estimates by the U.N. and rights groups.

A U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday, said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has proposed sending between 20 and 3,000 police to Burundi, but warned that the government had indicated it would only accept 20 unarmed experts.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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